Saturday, 31 March 2012

Osaka


Osaka, is a city in the Kansai region of Japan's main island of Honshu, a designated city under the Local Autonomy Law, the capital city of Osaka Prefecture and also the biggest part of Keihanshin area, which is represented by three major cities of Japan, Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe. Located at the mouth of the Yodo River on Osaka Bay, Osaka is the third largest city by population after Tokyo (special wards) and Yokohama.
Keihanshin is the second largest area in Japan by population and one of the largest metropolitan areas highly ranked in the world, with nearly 18 million people, and by GDP the second largest area in Japan and the seventh largest area in the world.
Historically the commercial centre of Japan, Osaka functions as one of the command centers for the Japanese economy. The ratio between daytime and night time population is 141%, the highest in Japan, highlighting its status as an economic center. Its nighttime population is 2.6 million, the third in the country, but in daytime the population surges to 3.7 million, second only after Tokyo (combining the Special wards of Tokyo, which is not a single incorporated city, for statistical purposes. See the Tokyo article for more information on the definition and makeup of Tokyo.) Osaka used to be referred to as the "nation's kitchen" (天下の台所 tenka no daidokoro?) in feudal Edo period because it was the centre of trading for rice, creating the first modern futures exchange market in the world.


Hanshin Industrial Region


The gross city product of Osaka in fiscal year 2004 was ¥21.3 trillion, an increase of 1.2% over the previous year. The figure accounts for about 55% of the total output in the Osaka Prefecture and 26.5% in the Kinki region. In 2004, commerce, services, and manufacturing have been the three major industries, accounting for 30%, 26%, and 11% of the total, respectively. The per capita income in the city was about ¥3.3 million, 10% higher than that of the Osaka Prefecture. MasterCard Worldwide reported that Osaka ranks 19th among the world's leading cities and plays an important role in the global economy.


The GDP in the greater Osaka area (Osaka and Kobe) is $341 billion. Osaka, along with Paris and London, has one of the most productive hinterlands in the world.
Historically, Osaka was the center of commerce in Japan, especially in the middle and pre-modern ages. Nomura Securities, the first brokerage firm in Japan, was founded in the city in 1925, and Osaka still houses a leading futures exchange. Many major companies have since moved their main offices to Tokyo. However, several major companies, such as Panasonic, Sharp, and Sanyo, are still headquartered in Osaka. Recently, the city began a program, headed by mayor Junichi Seki, to attract domestic and foreign investment.
The Osaka Securities Exchange, specializing in derivatives such as Nikkei 225 futures, is based in Osaka. The merger with JASDAQ will help the Osaka Securities Exchange become the largest exchange in Japan for start-up companies.
According to a U.S. study, Osaka is the second most expensive city for expatriate employees in the world and in Japan behind Tokyo. It jumped up nine places from 11th place in 2008. Osaka was the 8th most expensive city in 2007.


Entertainment and performing arts


Osaka is home to the National Bunraku Theatre, where traditional puppet plays, bunraku, are performed.
At Osaka Shouchiku-za, close to Namba station, kabuki can be enjoyed as well as manzai. Nearby is the Shin-kabuki-za, where enka concerts and Japanese dramas are performed.
Yoshimoto, a Japanese entertainment conglomarate operates two halls in the city for manzai and other comedy shows: the Namba Grand Kagetsu and the Kyōbashi Kagetsu halls.
The Hanjō-tei opened in 2006, dedicated to rakugo. The theatre is in the Temmangū area.
Umeda Arts Theater opened in 2005 after relocating from its former 46-year-old Umeda Koma Theater. The theater has a main hall with 1,905 seats and a smaller theater-drama hall with 898 seats. Umeda Arts Theatre stages various type of performances including musicals, music concerts, dramas, rakugo, and others.
The Symphony Hall, built in 1982, is the first hall in Japan designed specially for classical music concerts. The Hall was opened with a concert by the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra, which is based in the city. Orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic and Vienna Philharmonic have played here during their world tours as well.
Osaka-jō Hall is a multi-purpose arena in Osaka-jō park with a capacity for up to 16,000 people. The hall has hosted numerous events and concerts including both Japanese and international artists.
Near City Hall in Nakanoshima, is Osaka Central Public Hall, a Neo-Renaissance-style building first opened in 1918. Re-opened in 2002 after major restoration, it serves as a multi-purpose rental facility for citizen events.
The Osaka Shiki Theatre is one of the nine private halls operated nationwide by the Shiki Theatre, staging straight plays and musicals.
Festival Hall was a hall hosting various performances including noh, kyogen, kabuki, ballets as well as classic concerts. The Bolshoi Ballet and the Philharmonia are among the many that were welcomed on stage in the past. The hall has closed at the end of 2008, planned to re-open in 2013 in a new facility.




Annual festivals


One of the most famous festivals held in Osaka, the Tenjin-matsuri is held on July 24 and 25. Other festivals in Osaka include the Aizen-matsuri, Shōryō-e and Tōka-Ebisu. Furthermore, Osaka annually hosts the Kansai International Film Festival.


Sports


The Osaka Dome hosts home games of Orix Buffaloes and Hanshin Tigers
Osaka hosts four professional sport teams: one of them is the Orix Buffaloes, a Nippon Professional Baseball team, playing its home games at Kyocera Dome Osaka. Another baseball team, the Hanshin Tigers, although based in Nishinomiya, Hyōgo, plays a part of its home games in Kyocera Dome Osaka as well, when their homeground Kōshien Stadium is occupied with the annual National High School Baseball Championship games during summer season. There are two J.League clubs, Gamba Osaka, plays its home games at Osaka Expo '70 Stadium. Another club Cerezo Osaka, plays its home games at Nagai Stadium. The city is home to Osaka Evessa, a basketball team that plays in the bj league. Evessa has won the first three championships of the league since its establishment. Kintetsu Liners, a rugby union team, play in the Top League. After winning promotion in 2008-09, they will again remain in the competition for the 2009-10 season. Their base is the Hanazono Rugby Stadium.
The Sangatsubasho (三月場所 sangatsu basho, literally March ring), one of the six regular tournaments of professional Sumo is held annually in Osaka at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium.
Another major annual sporting event that takes place is Osaka is Osaka International Ladies Marathon. Held usually at the end of January every year, the 42.195 km race starts from Nagai Stadium, runs through Nakanoshima, Midōsuji and Osaka castle park, and returns to the stadium. Another yearly event held at Nagai Stadium is the Osaka Gran Prix Athletics games operated by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in May. The Osaka GP is the only IAAF games annually held in Japan.

Jakarta


Jakarta, is the capital and largest city of Indonesia. Located on the northwest coast of Java, Jakarta is the country's economic, cultural and political centre, and with a population of 10,187,595 as of November 2011, it is the most populous city in Indonesia and in Southeast Asia, and is the twelveth-largest city in the world. The official metropolitan area, known as Jabodetabekjur, is the second largest in the world, yet the city's suburbs still continue beyond it. Jakarta is listed as a global city in the 2008 Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network (GaWC) research. and has an area of 661 square kilometres (255 sq mi)
Established in the fourth century, the city became an important trading port for the Kingdom of Sunda. It was the de facto capital of the Dutch East Indies (when it was known as Batavia) and has continued as the capital of Indonesia since the country's independence was declared in 1945.
The city is the seat of the ASEAN Secretariat. Jakarta is served by the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport, and Tanjung Priok Harbour; it is connected by several intercity and commuter railways, and served by several bus lines running on reserved busways.


Cuisine
Jakarta has a vast range of food available at hundreds of eating complexes located all over the city, from modest street-side foodstalls and traveling vendors to the high-class expensive restaurants. The traditional Padang restaurants and low-budget Javanese Warteg (Warung Tegal) foodstalls are ubiquitous in the capital. Next to a myriad of selections of Indonesian food and regional specialties from all over Indonesia, there is also international food, especially Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Indian, American, French, Middle Eastern, and modern fusion food. One of the most popular local dishes in Jakarta is Soto Betawi, which is a cow milk or coconut milk broth with beef tendons, intestines, tripe. The other popular foods include: kerak telor, gado-gado, sate, nasi goreng and kue cucur.


Media


Chinese languange national newspaper:Indonesia Shang Bao
English language national newspaper: The Jakarta Post, The Jakarta Globe
Indonesian language national newspaper: Kompas, Koran Tempo, Media Indonesia, Seputar Indonesia, Republika, Suara Pembaruan, Suara Karya, Sinar Harapan, Indo Pos, Jurnal Nasional, Harian Pelita
Business newspaper: Bisnis Indonesia, Investor Daily, Kontan, Harian Neraca.
Indonesian language local (Jakarta) newspaper: Pos Kota, Warta Kota, Koran Jakarta, Berita Kota,
Sport newspaper: Top Skor
Television stations include:
Government television: TVRI.
Private national television: MNC TV, RCTI, Metro TV, Indosiar, ANTV, SCTV, Trans TV, TV ONE, Trans 7, and Global TV.
Local television: B-Channel, Jak-TV, O-Channel, Elshinta TV, Da Ai TV, and Space-Toon.
Cable television: First Media, TelkomVision
Satellite television: Indovision, TelkomVision, Okevision, Aora TV, Yes TV
Many TV stations are analog PAL, but some are now are converting to digital signals.


Electronic Road Pricing
Due to the city's acute gridlock, the Jakarta administration will implement Electronic Road Pricing in 10 districts: Tanah Abang, Menteng, Setiabudi, Tebet, Matraman, Senen, Gambir, Tambora, Sawah Besar and Taman Sari. The projects will initial after its legal basis from the Finance Ministry.


Railway


Long-distance railways and local tram services were first introduced during the Dutch colonial era. While the trams were replaced with buses in the post-colonial era, long-distance railways continued to connect the city to its neighboring regions as well as cities throughout Java. The surrounding cities of Jakarta are served by KRL Jabotabek, a mass rapid transit system which serves commuters both in and around Jakarta. The major rail stations are Gambir, Jakarta Kota, Jatinegara, Pasar Senen, Manggarai, and Tanah Abang. During rush hours, the number of passengers greatly exceeds the system's capacity, and crowding is common.
There had been plans for a monorail and part of it was already under construction, but the project stalled in 2004 and was officially abandoned as of 2008, mostly due to a lack of investors to fund it all. If completed, the monorail would have been made up of two lines: the green line serving Semanggi-Casablanca Road-Kuningan-Semanggi and the blue line serving Kampung Melayu-Casablanca Road-Tanah Abang-Roxy.
A two-line metro (MRT) system was being proposed, with a north-south line between Kota and Lebak Bulus, with connections to both monorail lines; and an east-west line, which will connect to the north-south line at Sawah Besar Station. In the end the JMRT would be a combination of both subways and elevated rails. The metro system would be built beginning in 2011 with a 15.2 km long line between Hotel Indonesia and Lebak Bulus, and the entire MRT network was scheduled to be operational by 2016. Because of this, the five remaining planned busways had been postponed. Jakarta Capital City Government had decided to build rail-based mass transits because this type of transport is capable of carrying passengers in large quantities quickly and cheaply. But due to many disputes rises between developer, government and investors, the project has been stopped and cancelled officially in 2011. 


Air
Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (CGK) is the main airport serving the greater Jakarta area. The airport is named after the first President of Indonesia, Soekarno, and the first vice-president, Mohammad Hatta. The airport is often called Cengkareng or Soetta by Indonesians. The airport's IATA code, CGK, originates from the name of the Cengkareng locality , a district situated to the northwest of the city. It is Indonesia's busiest airport handling nearly 40 million passengers annually. A second airport, Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport (HLP) serves mostly private and VIP/presidential flights. Other airports in the Jabotabek metropolitan area include Pondok Cabe Airport and an airfield on Pulau Panjang, part of the Thousand Island archipelago.


Waterway
On 6 June 2007, the city administration introduced the Waterway (officially Angkutan Sungai), a new river boat service along the Ciliwung River.However, because of the large amount of floating garbage which kept jamming the propeller, it is no longer in service. The varying water levels during the dry and wet seasons were also a contributing factor to the close-down.


Sea
Jakarta's main seaport Tanjung Priok serves many ferry connections to different parts of Indonesia. Tanjung Priok is the largest seaport in Indonesia, with an annual traffic capacity of around 45 million tonnes of cargo and 4,000,000 TEU's. The port is also an important employer in the area, with more than 18,000 employees who provide services to more than 18,000 ships every year. The Port of Jakarta has 20 terminals: general cargo, multipurpose terminal, scraps terminal, passenger terminal, dry bulk terminal, liquid bulk terminal, oil terminal, chemicals terminal and three container terminals, 76 berths, a quay length of 16,853 metres, a total storage area of 661,822 m2 and a storage capacity of 401,468 tonnes.
In December 2011, Muara Angke Port has been renovated yet with cost Rp130 billion ($14.4 million) in 3 hectares area. Next, Muara Angke Port will be used for public transport port to Thousand Islands, while Marina Ancol Port will be used as tourist ship port.

Nuremberg


Nuremberg, is a city in the German state of Bavaria, in the administrative region of Middle Franconia. Situated on the Pegnitz river and the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal, it is located about 170 kilometres (110 mi) north of Munich and is Franconia's largest city. The population (as of December 2010) is 505,664. The "European Metropolitan Area Nuremberg" has 3.5 million inhabitants.


Nuremberg Trials


Between 1945 and 1946, German officials involved in the Holocaust and other war crimes were brought before an international tribunal in the Nuremberg Trials. The Soviet Union had wanted these trials to take place in Berlin. However, Nuremberg was chosen as the site for the trials for specific reasons:
The city had been the location of the Nazi Party's Nuremberg rallies and the laws stripping Jews of their citizenship were passed there. There was symbolic value in making it the place of Nazi demise.
The Palace of Justice was spacious and largely undamaged (one of the few that had remained largely intact despite extensive Allied bombing of Germany). The already large courtroom was reasonably easily expanded by the removal of the wall at the end opposite the bench, thereby incorporating the adjoining room. A large prison was also part of the complex.
As a compromise, it was agreed that Berlin would become the permanent seat of the International Military Tribunal and that the first trial (several were planned) would take place in Nuremberg. Due to the Cold War, subsequent trials never took place.
The same courtroom in Nuremberg was the venue of the Nuremberg Military Tribunals, organised by the United States as occupying power in the area.


Culture


Nuremberg was an early centre of humanism, science, printing, and mechanical invention. The city contributed much to the science of astronomy. In 1471 Johannes Mueller of Königsberg (Bavaria), later called Regiomontanus, built an astronomical observatory in Nuremberg and published many important astronomical charts. In 1515, Albrecht Dürer, a native of Nuremberg, mapped the stars of the northern and southern hemispheres, producing the first printed star charts, which had been ordered by Johannes Stabius. Around 1515 Dürer also published the "Stabiussche Weltkarte", the first perspective drawing of the terrestrial globe. Perhaps most famously, the main part of Nicolaus Copernicus's work was published in Nuremberg in 1543.
Printers and publishers have a long history in Nuremberg. Many of these publishers worked with well-known artists of the day to produce books that could also be considered works of art. In 1470 Anton Koberger opened Europe's first print shop in Nuremberg. In 1493, he published the Nuremberg Chronicles, also known as the World Chronicles (Schedelsche Weltchronik), an illustrated history of the world from the creation to the present day. It was written in the local Franconian dialect by Hartmann Schedel and had illustrations by Michael Wohlgemuth, Wilhelm Pleydenwurff, and Albrecht Dürer. Others furthered geographical knowledge and travel by map making. Notable among these was navigator and geographer Martin Behaim, who made the first world globe.


Performing arts


The Nuremberg State Theatre (Staatstheater Nürnberg), founded in 1906, is dedicated to all types of Opera, Ballets and Theatre (drama). During the season 2009/2010, the theatre presented 651 performances for an audience of 240,000 persons.
The State Philharmonic Nuremberg (Staatsphilharmonie Nürnberg) is the orchestra of the State Theatre. It's name was changed in 2011 from its previous name: The Nuremberg Philharmonic (Nürnberger Philharmoniker) An "A Class" orchestra, it is the second-largest opera orchestra in Bavaria.Besides opera performances, it also presents its own subscription concert series in the Meistersingerhalle. Christof Prick was the principal conductor of the orchestra between 2006-2011. Since September 2011 the General Music Director is Marcus Bosch.
The Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra (Nürnberger Symphoniker) performs around 100 concerts a year to a combined annual audience of more than 180,000.The regular subscription concert series are mostly performed in the Meistersingerhalle but other venues are used as well, including the new concert hall of the Kongresshalle and the Serenadenhof. Alexander Shelley has been the principal conductor of the orchestra since 2009.
The Nuremberg International Chamber Music Festival (Internationales Kammermusikfestival Nürnberg) takes place in early September each year, and in 2011 celebrated its tenth anniversary. Concerts take place around the city; opening and closing events are held in the medieval Burg.




Cuisine


Nuremberg is known for Nürnberger Bratwurst, which is shorter and thinner than other bratwurst sausages.
Another Nuremberg speciality is Nürnberger Lebkuchen, a kind of ginger bread eaten mainly around Christmas time.


City and regional transport


The Nuremberg tramway network was opened in 1881. As of 2008, it extended a total length of 36 km (22 mi), had six lines, and carried 39.152 million passengers annually. The first segment of the Nuremberg U-Bahn metro system was opened in 1972. Nuremberg's trams, buses and metro system are operated by the VAG Nürnberg (Verkehrsaktiengesellschaft Nürnberg or Nuremberg Transport Corporation), itself a member of the VGN (Verkehrsverbund Grossraum Nürnberg or Greater Nuremberg Transport Network).
There is also a Nuremberg S-Bahn suburban metro railway and a regional train network, both centred on Nuremberg Central Station. Since 2008, Nuremberg has had the first U-Bahn in Germany (U3) that works without a driver. It also is the first subway system worldwide in which both driver-operated trains and computer-controlled trains share tracks.


Motorways
Nuremberg is conveniently located at the junction of several important Autobahn routes. The A3 (Netherlands–Frankfurt–Würzburg–Vienna) passes in a south-easterly direction along the north-east of the city. The A9 (Berlin–Munich) passes in a north–south direction on the east of the city. The A6 (France–Saarbrücken–Prague) passes in an east–west direction to the south of the city. Finally, the A73 begins in the south-east of Nuremberg and travels north-west through the city before continuing towards Fürth and Bamberg.

Duisburg

 Duisburg, is a German city in the western part of the Ruhr Area (Ruhrgebiet) in North Rhine-Westphalia. It is an independent metropolitan borough within Regierungsbezirk Düsseldorf. With the world's biggest inland harbour and its proximity to Düsseldorf International Airport, Duisburg has become an important venue for commerce and steel production.
Today's city is a result of numerous incorporations of surrounding towns and smaller cities. It is the fifteenth-largest city in Germany and the fifth-largest city in North Rhine-Westphalia with 495,668 residents as of 31 December 2007. The city is renowned for its steel industry. The last remaining coal mine closed down in the summer of 2009, but Duisburg has never been a coal-mining centre to the same extent as other places in the Ruhr region (German= Ruhrgebiet). All blast furnaces in the Ruhr are now located in Duisburg. 49% of all hot metal and 34.4% of all pig-iron in Germany is produced here (as of 2000). It also has a large brewery, the König Brauerei, located in Duisburg-Beeck, which makes the König Pilsener brand. The University of Duisburg-Essen, with 37,000 students, ranks among the 10 largest German universities.


Duisburg Port
"Duisport" is the largest inland port in the world. It is officially regarded as a "seaport" because sea-going river vessels go to ports in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Numerous docks are mostly located at the mouth of Ruhr river where it joins the Rhine.
Each year more than 40 million tonnes of various goods are handled with more than 20,000 ships calling at the port. The public harbor facilities stretch across an area of 7.4 km². There are 21 docks covering an area of 1.8 km² and 40 km of wharf. The area of the Logport Logistic Center Duisburg stretches across an area of 2.65 km². A number of companies run their own private docks and 70 million tonnes of goods yearly are handled in Duisburg on average.


Roads
Duisburg is served by several Autobahns, with 3 East-West routes and 2 North-South routes. A3 forms a bypass east of the city and mostly serves through traffic. A59 runs parallel to A3 and serves the city from North to South with 14 interchanges, much more than most other cities in the Ruhr area. The A40 and A42 are two East-West routes that serve central and Northern Duisburg. Autobahn A40 also serves major through traffic from the Netherlands to Berlin and points East. A short spur, A524 serves southern Duisburg. Most Autobahns have six lanes or are upgraded to six lanes (A59).
Apart from the Autobahns, no Bundesstraßen serve the city directly. B8 runs through the city, but uses A59's alignment. B288 runs in the extreme South of the city, and serves traffic to and from Krefeld. Several bridges span the Rhine river, most prominently the A40 and A42 bridges, but also the L287 suspension bridge and the L237 arch bridge, a three-lane bridge with 2 lanes per peak direction with dynamic lane usage.


Public transport
Duisburg main station is serviced by the InterCityExpress and InterCity long-distance network of the Deutsche Bahn, in addition line S 1 and S 2 of the S-Bahn line connect Duisburg with other cities of the Rhine-Ruhr area.
A Stadtbahn light rail and a bus system, both operated by the Duisburger Verkehrsgesellschaft provide local services. Stadtbahn line U79, the so-called D-Bahn, is a connection to the neighbouring city of Düsseldorf and is operated jointly with the Rheinbahn of Düsseldorf. All S-Bahn, Stadtbahn and bus lines operate under the umbrella of the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr


Media
There are several newspapers reporting on local events and politics, including the "Westdeutsche Allgemeine" (WAZ), the "Neue Ruhr Zeitung" (NRZ) and the "Rheinische Post" (RP). The local radio station "Radio Duisburg" was the first local radio broadcaster in the German state of North Rhine Westphalia. It started broadcasting in 1990. There is a local TV station ("STUDIO 47"), which was the first local station to broadcast in North Rhine-Westphalia. It started broadcasting in 2006. In its Duisburg studios the WDR produces a local programme for the city of Duisburg and the lower rhine region north of Düsseldorf. WDR is part of the German TV and radio network ARD.


Culture


Duisburg hosts a comprehensive range of cultural facilities and events. A highlight is the annual "Duisburger Akzente" [1], a festival focusing on modern social, political and cultural topics.




Landschaftspark at night
Besides Düsseldorf Duisburg is a residence of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, one of the major opera houses in Germany. The Duisburg Philharmonic Orchestra is one of Germany's orchestras with an international reputation.
Thanks to its history as a harbor city and a trade and industrial center Duisburg offers a variety of architectural places of interest, such as the German Inland Waterways Museum. The spectrum goes from old churches such as "St Johann Baptist" in Duisburg-Hamborn, which was built in 900, to modern age buildings like Micro-Electronic-Centrum in Duisburg-Neudorf, built in 1995. Another subject of interest is the Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord an abandoned industrial complex open to the public and an Anchor Point of ERIH, The European Route of Industrial Heritage. The city center locates the Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum, the municipal theatre  and the shopping street known as "fountain mile".
The city also contains two botanical gardens, the Botanischer Garten Duisburg-Hamborn and the Botanischer Garten Kaiserberg, as well as a number of municipal parks.
On 24 July 2010, 21 people were killed and hundreds injured in the city during the Love Parade, an electronic music procession and party.

Baltimore


Baltimore, is the largest city in the U.S. state of Maryland. It is located in the central area of the state along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. The independent city is often referred to as Baltimore City to distinguish it from surrounding Baltimore County.
Founded in 1729, Baltimore is the largest seaport in the Mid-Atlantic United States and is situated closer to Midwestern markets than any other major seaport on the East Coast. Baltimore's Inner Harbor was once the second leading port of entry for immigrants to the United States and a major manufacturing center After a decline in manufacturing, Baltimore shifted to a service-oriented economy.
At 620,961 residents in 2010, Baltimore's population has decreased by one-third since its peak in 1950. The Baltimore Metropolitan Area has grown steadily to approximately 2.7 million residents in 2010; the 20th largest in the country. Baltimore is also a principal city in the larger Baltimore–Washington combined statistical area of approximately 8.4 million residents.
The city is named after Lord Baltimore, a member of the Irish House of Lords and the founding proprietor of the Maryland Colony. Baltimore is an anglicization of the Irish Gaelic name Baile an Tí Mhóir, meaning "town of the big house", from whence Baltimore, County Cork derives its name.


Climate
Baltimore lies within the humid subtropical climate zone (Cfa), according to the Köppen classification.
July is typically the hottest month of the year, with an average temperature of 81.7 °F (27.6 °C). Summer is also a season of high (generally, not consistently) humidity in the Baltimore area. The record high for Baltimore is 107 °F (42 °C), set in 1936. January is the coldest month, with an average temperature of 36.8 °F (2.7 °C). However, subtropical air masses can bring periods of springlike weather, and Arctic fronts push nighttime low temperatures into the teens (< −7 °C) and more rarely, single digits (< −12 °C). The record low temperature for Baltimore is −7 °F (−22 °C) in 1934 and 1984.[36] Due to an urban heat island effect in the city proper and a moderating effect of the Chesapeake Bay, the outlying and inland parts of the Baltimore metro area are usually cooler than the city proper and the coastal towns.
As is typical in most East Coast cities, precipitation is generous and very evenly spread throughout the year. Every month typically brings 3–4 inches of precipitation, averaging around 42 inches (1,100 mm) annually. Spring, summer and fall bring frequent showers and thunderstorms, with an average of 105 sunny days a year. Winter often brings lighter rain showers of longer duration, and generally less sunshine and more clouds. Snowfall occurs occasionally in the winter, with an annual average of 20.8 inches (53 cm). In the northern and western suburbs, temperatures tend to be cooler, and winter snowfall is more significant, where some areas average more than 30 inches (76 cm) of snow per year. Freezing rain and sleet occurs a few times each winter in Baltimore, as warm air overrides cold air at the low-mid levels of the atmosphere. When the wind blows from the east, the cold air gets dammed against the mountains to the west and the result is freezing rain or sleet.
The average date of first frost in Baltimore is October 29, and the average last frost is April 11, allowing a growing season of 200 days.
NOTE: The temperature data presented below was recorded at Inner Harbor; all other data recorded at BWI Airport.


 Culture of Baltimore


Historically a working-class port town, Baltimore has sometimes been dubbed a "city of neighborhoods," with 72 designated historic districts traditionally occupied by distinct ethnic groups. Most notable today are three downtown areas along the port: the Inner Harbor, frequented by tourists due to its hotels, shops, and museums; Fells Point, once a favorite entertainment spot for sailors but now refurbished and gentrified (and featured in the movie Sleepless in Seattle); and Little Italy, located between the other two, where Baltimore's Italian-American community is based – and where former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi grew up. Further inland, Mt. Vernon is the traditional center of cultural and artistic life of the city; it is home to a distinctive Washington Monument, set atop a hill in a 19th century urban square, that predates the more well-known monument in Washington, D.C. by several decades.


Each year the Artscape takes place in the city in the Bolton Hill neighborhood, due to its proximity to Maryland Institute College of Art. Artscape styles itself as the 'largest free arts festival in America'.
Each May, the Maryland Film Festival takes place in Baltimore, using all 5 screens of the historic Charles Theatre as its anchor venue.


Economy


Once a predominately industrial town, with an economic base focused on steel processing, shipping, auto manufacturing, and transportation, the city suffered a deindustrialization which cost residents tens of thousands of low-skill, high-wage jobs. While it remains a major industrial powerhouse, Baltimore now has a modern service economy providing a growing financial, business, and health service base for the southern Mid-Atlantic region.
Greater Baltimore (the city and surrounding suburbs in Baltimore County) is home to five Fortune 1000 companies: Constellation Energy, Grace Chemicals (in Columbia), Legg Mason, T. Rowe Price, and McCormick & Company (in Hunt Valley). Other companies that call Greater Baltimore home include AAI Corporation (in Hunt Valley), Adams Express Company, Brown Advisory, Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown (the oldest continuously running investment bank in the United States), FTI Consulting, Petroleum & Resources Corporation, Vertis, Prometric, Sylvan Learning, Laureate Education, Under Armour, DAP, 180s, DeBaufre Bakeries, Wm. T. Burnett & Co, Old Mutual Financial Network, Firaxis Games (in Sparks), Sinclair Broadcast Group (in Hunt Valley), Fila USA (in Sparks) and JoS. A. Bank Clothiers (in Hampstead).
The city is also home to the Johns Hopkins Hospital.
A sugar refinery owned by American Sugar Refining is also located in Baltimore, and serves as one of Baltimore's cultural icons.

Havana


Havana, is the capital city, province, major port, and leading commercial centre of Cuba. The city proper has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants, and it spans a total of 728.26 km2 (281.18 sq mi) — making it the largest city by area, the most populous city, and the fourth largest metropolitan area in the Caribbean region, The city extends mostly westward and southward from the bay, which is entered through a narrow inlet and which divides into three main harbours: Marimelena, Guanabacoa and Atarés. The sluggish Almendares River traverses the city from south to north, entering the Straits of Florida a few miles west of the bay.
Havana was founded by the Spanish in the 16th century and due to its strategic location it served as a springboard for the Spanish conquest of the continent becoming a stopping point for the treasure laden Spanish Galleons on the crossing between the New World and the Old World. King Philip II of Spain granted Havana the title of City in 1592. Walls as well as forts were built to protect the old city. The sinking of the U.S. battleship Maine in Havana's harbor in 1898 was the immediate cause of the Spanish-American War.
Contemporary Havana can essentially be described as three cities in one: Old Havana, Vedado, and the newer suburban districts. The city is the center of the Cuban Government, and home to various ministries, headquarters of businesses and over 90 diplomatic offices.[8] The current mayor is Marta Hernández from the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC). In 2009, the city/province had the 3rd highest income in the country.


Cityscape


Contemporary Havana can essentially be described as three cities in one: Old Havana, Vedado, and the newer suburban districts. Old Havana, with its narrow streets and overhanging balconies, is the traditional centre of part of Havana's commerce, industry, and entertainment, as well as being a residential area.
To the north and west a newer section, centred on the uptown area known as Vedado, has become the rival of Old Havana for commercial activity and nightlife. Centro Habana, sometimes described as part of Vedado, is mainly a shopping district that lies between Vedado and Old Havana. The Capitolio Nacional building marks the beginning of Centro Habana, a working class neighborhood. Chinatown and the Real Fabrica de Tabacos Partagás, one of Cuba's oldest cigar factories is located in the area.
A third Havana is that of the more affluent residential and industrial districts that spread out mostly to the west. Among these is Marianao, one of the newer parts of the city, dating mainly from the 1920s. Some of the suburban exclusivity was lost after the revolution, many of the suburban homes having been nationalized by the Cuban government to serve as schools, hospitals, and government offices. Several private country clubs were converted to public recreational centres. Miramar, located west of Vedado along the coast, remains Havana's exclusive area; mansions, foreign embassies, diplomatic residences, upscale shops, and facilities for wealthy foreigners are common in the area. The International School of Havana is located in the Miramar neighborhood.
In the 1980s many parts of Old Havana, including the Plaza de Armas, became part of a projected 35-year multimillion-dollar restoration project, for Cubans to appreciate their past and boost tourism. In the past ten years, with the assistance of foreign aid and under the support of local city historian Eusebio Leal Spengler, large parts of Habana Vieja have been renovated. The city is moving forward with their renovations, with most of the major plazas (Plaza Vieja, Plaza de la Catedral, Plaza de San Francisco and Plaza de Armas) and major tourist streets (Obispo and Mercaderes) near completion.


Districts
The city is divided into 15 municipalities – or boroughs, which are further subdivided into 105 wards[29] (consejos populares). (Numbers refer to map).


Playa: Santa Fé, Siboney, Cubanacán, Ampliación Almendares, Miramar, Sierra, Ceiba, Buena Vista.
Plaza de la Revolución : El Carmelo, Vedado-Malecón, Rampa, Príncipe, Plaza, Nuevo Vedado-Puentes Grandes, Colón-Nuevo Vedado, Vedado.
Centro Habana: Cayo Hueso, Pueblo Nuevo, Los Sitios, Dragones, Colon.
La Habana Vieja : Prado, Catedral, Plaza Vieja, Belén, San Isidro, Jesús Maria, Tallapiedra.
Regla : Guacanimar, Loma Modelo, Casablanca.
La Habana del Este : Camilo Cienfuegos, Cojimar, Guiteras, Alturas de Alamar, Alamar-Este, Guanabo, Campo Florido, Alamar-Playa.
Guanabacoa : Mañana-Habana Nueva, Villa I, Villa II, Chivas-Roble, Debeche-Nalon, Hata-Naranjo, Peñalver-Bacuranao, Minas-Barreras.
San Miguel del Padrón: Rocafort, Luyanó Moderno, Diezmero, San Francisco de Paula, Dolores-Veracruz, Jacomino.
Diez de Octubre : Luyanó, Jesús del Monte, Lawton, Vista Alegre, Acosta, Sevillano, Vibora, Santos Suárez, Tamarindo.
Cerro: Latinoamericano, Pilar-Atares, Cerro, Las Cañas, El Canal, Palatino, Armada.
Marianao : CAI-Los Ángeles, Pocito-Palmas, Zamora-Cocosolo, Libertad, Pogoloti-Belén-Finlay, Sta Felicia.
La Lisa : Alturas de La Lisa, Balcón Arimao, Cano-Bello26-Valle Grande, Punta Brava, Arroyo Arenas, San Agustín, Versalles Coronela.
Boyeros: Santiago de Las Vegas, Nuevo Santiago, Boyeros, Wajay, Calabazar, Altahabana-Capdevila, Armada-Aldabo.
Arroyo Naranjo: Los Pinos, Poey, Víbora Park, Mantilla, Párraga, Calvario-Fraternidad, Guinera, Eléctrico, Managua, Callejas.
El Cotorro: San Pedro-Centro Cotorro, Santa Maria del Rosario, Lotería, Cuatro Caminos, Magdalena-Torriente, Alberro.


Landmarks and historical centres
Habana Vieja: contains the core of the original city of Havana. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Plaza Vieja: a plaza in Old Havana, it was the site of executions, processions, bullfights, and fiestas.
Fortaleza San Carlos de la Cabaña, a fortress located on the east side of the Havana bay, La Cabaña is the most impressive fortress from colonial times, particularly its walls constructed at the end of the 18th century.
El Capitolio Nacional: built in 1929 as the Senate and House of Representatives, the colossal building is recognizable by its dome which dominates the city's skyline. Inside stands the third largest indoor statue in the world, La Estatua de la República. Nowadays, the Cuban Academy of Sciences headquarters and the Museo Nacional de Historia Natural (the National Museum of Natural History) has its venue within the building and contains the largest natural history collection in the country.
El Morro Fortress: is a fortress guarding the entrance to Havana bay; Morro Castle was built because of the threat to the harbor from pirates.
San Salvador de la Punta Fortress: a small fortress built in the 16th century, at the western entry point to the Havana harbour, it played a crucial role in the defence of Havana during the initial centuries of colonisation. It houses some twenty old guns and military antiques.
Cristo de La Habana: Havana's 20-meter (66 ft) marble statue of Christ (1958) blesses the city from the east hillside of the bay, much like the famous Cristo Redentor in Rio de Janeiro.
The Great Theatre of Havana: is an opera house famous particularly for the National Ballet of Cuba, it sometimes hosts performances by the National Opera. The theater is also known as concert hall, García Lorca, the biggest in Cuba.
The Malecon/Sea wall: is the avenue that runs along the north coast of the city, beside the seawall. The Malecón is the most popular avenue of Havana, it is known for its sunsets.
Hotel Nacional de Cuba: an Art Deco National Hotel famous in the 1950s as a gambling and entertainment complex.
Museo de la Revolución: located in the former Presidential Palace, with the yacht Granma on display behind the museum.
Necrópolis Cristóbal Colón: a cemetery and open air museum,[34] it is one of the most famous cemeteries in Latin America, known for its beauty and magnificence. The cemetery was built in 1876 and has nearly one million tombs. Some gravestones are decorated with sculpture by Ramos Blancos, among others.

Shanghai


Shanghai, is the largest city by population of the People's Republic of China (PRC)  and the largest city proper by population in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities of the PRC, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010. It is a global city, with influence in commerce, culture, finance, media, fashion, technology, and transport. It is a major financial center and the busiest container port in the world.
Located in the Yangtze River Delta in eastern China, Shanghai sits at the mouth of the Yangtze River in the middle portion of the Chinese coast. The municipality borders Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces to the west, and is bounded to the east by the East China Sea.
Once a fishing and textiles town, Shanghai grew in importance in the 19th century due to its favorable port location and was one of the cities opened to foreign trade by the 1842 Treaty of Nanking which allowed the establishment of the Shanghai International Settlement. The city then flourished as a center of commerce between east and west, and became the undisputed financial hub of the Asia Pacific in the 1930s. However, with the Communist Party takeover of the mainland in 1949, the city's international influence declined. In the 1990s, the economic reforms introduced by Deng Xiaoping resulted in an intense re-development of the city, aiding the return of finance and foreign investment to the city.
Shanghai is a popular tourist destination renowned for its historical landmarks such as The Bund, City God Temple and Yuyuan Garden, as well as the extensive and growing Pudong skyline. It has been described as the "showpiece" of the booming economy of mainland China.


Religion


Due to its cosmopolitan history, Shanghai has a rich blend of religious heritage as shown by the religious buildings and institutions still scattered around the city. Taoism has a presence in Shanghai in the form of several temples, including the City God Temple, at the heart of the old city, and a temple dedicated to the Three Kingdoms general Guan Yu. The Wenmiao is a temple dedicated to Confucius. Buddhism has had a presence in Shanghai since ancient times. Longhua temple, the largest temple in Shanghai, and Jing'an Temple, were first founded in the Three Kingdoms period. Another important temple is the Jade Buddha Temple, which is named after a large statue of Buddha carved out of jade in the temple. In recent decades, dozens of modern temples have been built throughout the city. A predominant religion in Shanghai is Mahayana Buddhism, and Taoism is also followed by many Shanghai residents. Islam came into Shanghai 700 years ago and a mosque was built in 1295 in Songjiang. In 1843, a teachers' college was also set up. The Xiaotaoyuan Mosque is located at 52 Xiaotaoyuan Lane,East Fuxing Road, South District. This is where the Shanghai Muslim Association is also located, which has a reputation known throughout the world. Shanghai has the highest Catholic percentage in Mainland China (2003).Among Catholic churches, St Ignatius Cathedral in Xujiahui is one of the largest, while She Shan Basilica is the only active pilgrimage site in China. communities. Christianity in Shanghai includes Eastern Orthodox minorities and, since 1996, registered Christian Protestant churches. During World War II thousands of Jews descended upon Shanghai in an effort to flee Hitler’s regime. The Jews lived side-by-side in a designated area called Shanghai Ghetto and formed a vibrant community centered on the Ohel Moshe Synagogue, which is preserved remnant of this portion of Shanghai’s complex religious past.


Parks and resorts


Shanghai's parks offer some reprieve from the urban jungle. Due to the scarcity of play space for children, nearly all parks have a children's section. The former racetrack turned central park, People's Square park is located in the heart of down town Shanghai and is known for its proximity to other major Shanghai landmarks. Fuxing Park, in the former French Concession of Shanghai, features formal French-style gardens and is surrounded by high end bars and cafes. Zhongshan Park in northwestern central Shanghai is famous for its monument of Chopin, the tallest statue dedicated to the composer in the world. Built in 1914 as Jessfield Park, it once contained the campus of St. John's University, Shanghai's first international college; today, it is known for its extensive rose and peony gardens, a large children's play area, and as the location of an important transfer station on the city's metro system. One of the newest is in the Xujiahui area – Xujiahui Park, built in 1999 on the former grounds of the Great Chinese Rubber Works Factory and the EMI Recording Studio (now La Villa Rouge restaurant). The park has a man-made lake with a sky bridge running across the park, and offers a pleasant respite for Xujiahui shoppers.
The Shanghai Disney Resort Project was approved by the government on 4 November 2009 It is currently under construction. The resort is planned to be operational by 2016. A $4.4 billion theme park and resort in Pudong will have a castle that will be the biggest among Disney's resorts.
Well-known Shanghai parks include:
People's Square Park
Gongqing Forest Park
Fuxing Park
Zhongshan Park
Lu Xun Park
Century Park
Jing'an Park


Environmental protection
Public awareness of the environment is growing, and the city is investing in a number of environmental protection projects. A 10-year, US$1 billion cleanup of Suzhou Creek, which runs through the city-center, was expected to be finished in 2008, and the government also provides incentives for transportation companies to invest in LPG buses and taxis. Air pollution in Shanghai is low compared to other Chinese cities, but the rapid development over the past decades means it is still high on worldwide standards. The government has moved almost all factories within downtown to either outskirts of Shanghai or the neighboring Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces in the last two decades. In addition, several parks have been built in the city. As a result, Shanghai's air quality has been steadily improving since 1990s.


Economy


Shanghai is the commercial and financial center of mainland China, and ranks fifth in the 2011 edition of the Global Financial Centres Index published by the City of London. It was the largest and most prosperous city in the Far East during the 1930s, and rapid re-development began in 1990s. This is exemplified by the Pudong District, which became a pilot area for integrated economic reforms. By the end of 2009, there were 787 financial institutions, of which 170 were foreign-invested. In 2009, the Shanghai Stock Exchange ranked third among worldwide stock exchanges in terms of trading volume and sixth in terms of the total capitalization of listed companies, and the trading volume of six key commodities including rubber, copper and zinc on the Shanghai Futures Exchange all ranked first in the world.
In the last two decades Shanghai has been one of the fastest developing cities in the world. Since 1992 Shanghai has recorded double-digit growth almost every year except during the global recession of 2008 and 2009. In 2011, Shanghai's total GDP grew to 1.92 trillion yuan (US$297 billion) with GDP per capita of 82,560 yuan (US $12,784). The three largest service industries are financial services, retail, and real estate. The manufacturing and agricultural sectors accounted for 39.9 percent and 0.7 percent of the total output respectively. Average annual disposable income of Shanghai residents, based on the first three quarters of 2009, was 21,871 RMB.
Located at the heart of the Yangtze River Delta, Shanghai has the world’s busiest container port, which handled 29.05 million TEUs in 2010. Shanghai aims to be an international shipping center in the near future.
Shanghai is one of the main industrial centers of China, playing a key role in China’s heavy industries. A large number of industrial zones, including Shanghai Hongqiao Economic and Technological Development Zone, Jinqiao Export Economic Processing Zone, Minhang Economic and Technological Development Zone, and Shanghai Caohejing High-Tech Development Zone, are backbones of Shanghai's secondary industry. Heavy industries accounted for 78% of the gross industrial output in 2009. China’s largest steelmaker Baosteel Group and Jiangnan Shipyard, one of China's oldest shipbuilders are both located in Shanghai. Auto manufacture is another important industry. The Shanghai-based SAIC Motor is one of the three largest automotive corporations in China, and has strategic partnerships with Volkswagen and General Motors.

Constanta


Constanța, is the oldest extant city in Romania, founded around 600 BC. The city is located in the Dobruja region of Romania, on the Black Sea coast. It is the capital of Constanța County and the largest city in the region.
The city of Constanța is one of the most important in Romania, one of four roughly equal-size cities which rank after Bucharest. The Constanța metropolitan area, founded in 2007, comprises 14 localities located at a maximum distance of 30 km (19 mi) from the city, and, with 387,593 inhabitants, it is the third largest metropolitan area in Romania.
The Port of Constanța has an area of 39.26 km2 (15.16 sq mi) and a length of about 30 km (19 mi). It is the largest port on the Black Sea, and one of the largest ports in Europe.


Transport


The opening, in 1895, of the railway to Bucharest, which crosses the Danube by a bridge at Cernavodă, brought Constanța a considerable transit trade in grain and petroleum, which are largely exported; coal and coke head the list of imports, followed by machinery, iron goods, and cotton and woollen fabrics.


The A2 motorway, linking Constanța to Bucharest, is almost completed. Currently, it runs from Bucharest to Cernavodă and is slated to open to Constanța by 2011. This will coincide with the opening of the city's outer traffic ring (part of A4 motorway) which would divert heavy traffic to and from the city port and to Mangalia.
The city is served by the Mihail Kogălniceanu International Airport.
Port of Constanța includes Constanța North Port and Constanța South Port, is the 4th largest in Europe and is protected by breakwaters, with a lighthouse at the entrance, is well defended from the North winds, but those from the South, South-East, and South-West prove sometimes highly dangerous. The Black Sea squadron of the Romanian fleet is stationed here. A large canal (the Danube-Black Sea Canal) connects the Danube River to the Black Sea at Constanța.
Constanța's public transport system is run by Regia Autonomă de Transport în Comun Constanța (RATC), and consists of 17 bus lines, and 2 trolleybus lines. In the early 2000s, the city bought 130 new MAZ buses, replacing the aging DAC buses. 90% of its bus fleet is currently made up of the new buses, which are distinctly painted in bright colours, such as pink, yellow and green. There are also Doubble decker busses that run in the summertime and provide access to and from the city's resort. As of July 2009 the cost of 1 ticket is 3 RON. Some bus lines run on decommissioned tram lines – the tram cars were almost 40 years old, not safe and too noisy so the tram lines were removed, widening the boulevards and also easing the pressure on traffic. As of July 2009 all the tram lines have been decommissioned and replaced with long-wheelbase buses. There is also a private line of minibuses (maxi-taxi) which serves some routes.


Tourism


Situated at the crossroads of several commercial routes, Constanța lies on the western coast of the Black Sea, 185 miles (298 km) from the Bosphorus Strait. An ancient metropolis and Romania's largest sea port, Constanța traces its history some 2,500 years. Originally called Tomis, legend has it that Jason landed here with the Argonauts after finding the Golden Fleece.
One of the largest cities in Romania, Constanța is now an important cultural and economic center, worth exploring for its archaeological treasures and the atmosphere of the old town center. Its historical monuments, ancient ruins, grand Casino, museums and shops, and proximity to beach resorts make it the focal point of Black Sea coast tourism. Open-air restaurants, nightclubs and cabarets offer a wide variety of entertainment. Regional attractions include traditional villages, vineyards, ancient monuments and the Danube Delta, the best preserved delta in Europe.


Economy


Constanța is one of Romania's main industrial, commercial and tourist centers. During the first half of 2008, some 3,144 new companies were established in Constanța and its neghbouring localities, a number surpassed only in Bucharest and Cluj County. The Port of Constanța is the largest on the Black Sea and the fourth largest in Europe. The city also boasts a comparably large shipyard.
Tourism has been an increasingly important economic activity in recent years. Although Constanța has been promoted as a seaside resort since the time of Carol I, the development of naval industry had a detrimental effect on the city's beaches. Nevertheless, due to its proximity to other major tourist destinations, Constanța receives a significant number of visitors every year, who discover and visit the city's monuments and attractions. Also, Constanța is a centre of commerce and education, both of which significantly contribute to the local economy.


The Archeology Park (Parcul Arheologic)
The park houses columns and fragments of 3rd and 4th century buildings and a 6th century tower.
St. Peter & Paul Orthodox Cathedral
Constructed in Greco-Roman style between 1883 and 1885, the church was severely damaged during World War II and was restored in 1951. The interior murals display a neo-Byzantine style combined with Romanian elements best observed in the iconostasis and pews, chandeliers and candlesticks (bronze and brass alloy), all designed by Ion Mincu and completed in Paris.
The Great Mahmudiye Mosque (Moscheea Mare Mahmoud II)
Built in 1910 by King Carol I, the mosque is the seat of the Mufti, the spiritual leader of the 55,000 Muslims (Turks and Tatars by origin) who live along the coast of the Dobrogea region. The building combines Byzantine and Romanian architectural elements, making it one of the most distinctive mosques in the area. The centerpiece of the interior is a large Turkish carpet, a gift from Sultan Abdul Hamid. Woven at the Hereke Handicraft Center in Turkey, it is one of the largest carpets in Europe, weighing 1,080 pounds. The main attraction of the mosque is the 164 ft (50 m) minaret (tower) which offers a stunning view of the old downtown and harbor. Five times a day, the muezzin climbs 140 steps to the top of the minaret to call the faithful to prayer.
Hünkar Mosque (Ceamia Hunchiar)
The mosque was built between 1867-1868 by Ottoman Sultan Abdülaziz for Turks who were forced to leave Crimea after the Crimean War (1853-56) and settled in Constanta. The mosque has a 24m high minaret and was subject to a restoration in 1945 and 1992.
The Fantasio Theatre (Teatrul Fantasio)
Built in 1927 by Demostene Tranulis, a local philanthropist of Greek origin, this theatre used to be called “Tranulis” before 1947, after the name of its benefactor. It's a fine building featuring elements of neoclassical architecture, located in the heart of the city, on Ferdinand Boulevard.

Oslo


Oslo, is a municipality, and the capital and most populous city of Norway. As a municipality (formannskapsdistrikt), it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved during the reign of King Christian IV. It was rebuilt closer to Akershus Castle, and renamed Christiania in his honour (also spelled Kristiania in the late 1800s). In 1925, twenty years after the dissolution of personal union between Norway and Sweden, the city reclaimed its original Norwegian name, Oslo. The diocese of Oslo is one of the five original dioceses in Norway, which originated around the year 1070.
Oslo is the cultural, scientific, economic and governmental centre of Norway. The city is also a hub of Norwegian trade, banking, industry and shipping. It is an important centre for maritime industries and maritime trade in Europe. The city is home to many companies within the maritime sector, some of which are amongst the world's largest shipping companies, shipbrokers and maritime insurance brokers. Oslo is a pilot city of the Council of Europe and the European Commission intercultural cities programme.
Oslo is considered a global city and ranked "Beta World City" in studies performed by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network in 2008. It was ranked number one in terms of quality of life among European large cities in the European Cities of the Future 2012 report by fDi Magazine. For several years, Oslo has been listed as one of the most expensive cities in the world along with such other global cities, as Zurich, Geneva, Copenhagen, Paris, and Tokyo. In 2009, however, Oslo regained its status as the world's most expensive city. A survey conducted by ECA International in 2011 placed Oslo 2nd after Tokyo.
As of 2010 the metropolitan area of Oslo has a population of 1,442,318, of whom 912,04 live in the contiguous conurbation. The population currently increases at record rates, making it the fastest growing city in Europe. This growth stems for the most part from immigration and high birth rates among immigrants, but also from intra-national migration. The Norwegian population in the city is not decreasing in absolute numbers, but in relative terms the pecentage of native Norwegians of the total population in the city proper is decreasing due to a growing immigrant population and thus a growing total population.  The immigrant share of the population in the city proper now counts more than 25% of the city's total.


 Parks and open spaces in Oslo


Oslo has a large number of parks and green areas within the city core, as well as outside it.
Frogner Park is a large park located a few minutes walk away from the city centre. This is the biggest and most reputed park in Norway with a large collection of sculptures of Gustav Vigeland
Bygdøy is a huge and green area, commonly called the Museum Peninsula of Oslo. The beautiful location, surrounded by the sea, makes it the most expensive Norwegian district.
St. Hanshaugen Park is an old public park on a high hill in central Oslo. 'St. Hanshaugen' is also the name of the surrounding neighbourhood as well as the larger administrative district (borough) that includes major parts of central Oslo.
Tøyen Park stretches out behind the Munch Museum, and is a vast, grassy expanse. In the north, there is a viewing point known as Ola Narr. The Tøyen area also includes the Botanical Garden and Museum belonging to the University of Oslo.
Oslo (with neighbouring Sandvika-Asker) is built in a horseshoe shape on the shores of the Oslofjord and limited in most directions by hills and forests. As a result, any point within the city is relatively close to the forest. There are two major forests bordering the city: Østmarka (literally "Eastern Forest", on the eastern perimeter of the city), and the very large Nordmarka (literally "Northern Forest", stretching from the northern perimeter of the city deep into the hinterland).
The municipality operates eight public swimming pools. Tøyenbadet is the largest indoor swimming facility in Oslo and one of the few pools in Norway offering a 50-metre main pool. The outdoor pool Frognerbadet also has the 50-metre range.


Music and events
A large number of festivals are held in Oslo, such as Oslo Live, a rock and roll event, and the Oslo Jazz festival is a six-day festival which has been held annually in August for the past 25 years. Oslo's biggest Rock festival is Øyafestivalen or simply "Øya". It draws about 60,000 people to the Medieval Park east in Oslo and last for four days.
The Oslo International Church Music Festival  has been held annually since 2000. The Oslo World Music Festival showcases people who are stars in their own country but strangers in Norway. The Oslo Chamber Music Festival is held in August every year and world-class chambers and soloists gather in Oslo to perform at this festival. The Norwegian Wood Rock Festival is held every year in June in Oslo.
The Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony is headed by the Institute; the award ceremony is held annually in The City Hall on 10 December. Even though Sami land is far away from the capital, the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History marks the Sami National Day with a series of activities and entertainment.
The World Cup Biathlon in Holmenkollen is held every year and here male and female competitors compete against each other in Sprint, Pursuit and Mass Start disciplines.
Other examples of annual events in Oslo are Desucon, a convention focusing on Japanese culture and Færderseilasen, the world's largest overnight regatta with more than 1100 boats taking part every year.
Rikard Nordraak, composer of the Norwegian national anthem, was born in Oslo in 1842.
Norway's principal orchestra is the Oslo Philharmonic, based at the Oslo Concert Hall since 1977. Although it was founded in 1919, the Oslo Philharmonic can trace its roots to the founding of the Christiania Musikerforening (Christiania Musicians Society) by Edvard Grieg and Johan Svendsen in 1879.


Sports
Holmenkollen National Arena and Holmenkollbakken is the country's main biathlon and Nordic skiing venue. It hosts annual world cup tournaments, including the Holmenkollen Ski Festival. It has hosted Biathlon World Championships in 1986, 1990, 1999 and 2002. FIS Nordic World Ski Championships have been hosted in 1930, 1966, 1982 and 2011, as well as the 1952 Winter Olympics.
Ullevål Stadion is the home arena for the Tippeligaen football side Vålerenga Fotball, the Norwegian national football team and the Football Cup Final. The stadium has previously hosted the finals of the UEFA Women's Championship in 1987 and 1997, and the 2002 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship. Røa IL is Oslo's only team in the women's league, Toppserien. Each year, the international youth football tournament Norway Cup is held on Ekebergsletta and other places in the city.
Bislett Stadion is the city's main track and field venue, and hosts the annual Bislett Games, part of IAAF Diamond League. Bjerke Travbane is the main venue for harness racing in the country. Oslo Spektrum is used for large ice hockey and handball matches. Bækkelagets SK and Nordstrand IF plays in the women's Postenligaen in handball, while Vålerenga Håndball plays in the men's league. Jordal Amfi, the home of the ice hockey team Vålerenga Ishockey, and Manglerudhallen is the home of Manglerud Star, both of whom play in GET-ligaen. The 1999 IIHF World Championship in ice hockey were held in Oslo, as have three Bandy World Championships, in 1961, 1977 and 1985. The UCI Road World Championships in bicycle road racing were hosted 1993.

Basel


Basel, is Switzerland's third most populous city with about 166,000 inhabitants.Located where the Swiss, French and German borders meet, Basel also has suburbs in France and Germany. With 830,000 inhabitants in the tri-national urban agglomeration as of 2004, Basel is Switzerland's second-largest urban area.
Located in northwest Switzerland on the river Rhine, Basel functions as a major industrial centre for the chemical and pharmaceutical industry. The Basel region, culturally extending into German Baden-Württemberg and French Alsace, reflects the heritage of its three states in the modern Latin name: "Regio TriRhena". It has the oldest university of the Swiss Confederation (1460). Basel is German-speaking. The local variant of the Swiss German dialects is called Basel German.
Basel is among the most important cultural centres of Switzerland. The city comprises a large number of theatres and many museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts, the world's oldest art collection accessible to the public. In addition the Theater Basel was chosen in 1999 as the best stage for German-language performances and in 2009 & 2010 as "Opera of the Year" by German Opera Magazine "Opernwelt".


Basel as international meeting place


Basel has often been the site of peace negotiations and other international meetings. The Treaty of Basel (1499) ended the Swabian War. Two years later Basel joined the Swiss Confederation. The Peace of Basel in 1795 between the French Republic and Prussia and Spain ended the First Coalition against France during the French Revolutionary Wars. In more recent times, the World Zionist Organization held its first congress in Basel on September 3, 1897. Because of the Balkan Wars, the Second International held an extraordinary congress at Basel in 1912. In 1989, the Basel Convention was opened for signature with the aim of preventing the export of hazardous waste from wealthy to developing nations for disposal.


Geography


Basel has an area, as of 2009, of 23.91 square kilometers (9.23 sq mi). Of this area, 0.95 km2 (0.37 sq mi) or 4.0% is used for agricultural purposes, while 0.88 km2 (0.34 sq mi) or 3.7% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 20.67 km2 (7.98 sq mi) or 86.4% is settled (buildings or roads), 1.45 km2 (0.56 sq mi) or 6.1% is either rivers or lakes.
Of the built up area, industrial buildings made up 10.2% of the total area while housing and buildings made up 40.7% and transportation infrastructure made up 24.0%. Power and water infrastructure as well as other special developed areas made up 2.7% of the area while parks, green belts and sports fields made up 8.9%. Out of the forested land, all of the forested land area is covered with heavy forests. Of the agricultural land, 2.5% is used for growing crops and 1.3% is pastures. All the water in the municipality is flowing water.


As of 2010, Basel had an unemployment rate of 4.2%. As of 2008, there were 18 people employed in the primary economic sector and about 9 businesses involved in this sector. 34,645 people were employed in the secondary sector and there were 1,176 businesses in this sector. 120,130 people were employed in the tertiary sector, with 8,908 businesses in this sector. There were 82,449 residents of the municipality who were employed in some capacity, of which females made up 46.2% of the workforce.
In 2008 the total number of full-time equivalent jobs was 130,988. The number of jobs in the primary sector was 13, of which 10 were in agriculture and 4 were in forestry or lumber production. The number of jobs in the secondary sector was 33,171 of which 24,848 or (74.9%) were in manufacturing, 10 were in mining and 7,313 (22.0%) were in construction. The number of jobs in the tertiary sector was 97,804. In the tertiary sector; 12,880 or 13.2% were in the sale or repair of motor vehicles, 11,959 or 12.2% were in the movement and storage of goods, 6,120 or 6.3% were in a hotel or restaurant, 4,186 or 4.3% were in the information industry, 10,752 or 11.0% were the insurance or financial industry, 13,695 or 14.0% were technical professionals or scientists, 6,983 or 7.1% were in education and 16,060 or 16.4% were in health care.
In 2000, there were 121,842 workers who commuted into the municipality and 19,263 workers who commuted away. The municipality is a net importer of workers, with about 6.3 workers entering the municipality for every one leaving. About 23.9% of the workforce coming into Basel are coming from outside Switzerland, while 1.0% of the locals commute out of Switzerland for work. Of the working population, 49.2% used public transportation to get to work, and 18.7% used a private car.
An annual Federal Swiss trade fair (Mustermesse) takes place in Kleinbasel on the right bank of the Rhine. Other important trade shows include "BaselWorld" (watches and jewelry), Art Basel, Orbit and Cultura.
The Swiss chemical industry operates largely from Basel, and Basel also has a large pharmaceutical industry. Novartis Syngenta, Ciba Specialty Chemicals, Clariant, Hoffmann-La Roche, Basilea Pharmaceutica and Actelion are headquartered there. Pharmaceuticals and specialty chemicals have become the modern focus of the city's industrial production.
Banking is extremely important to Basel:
UBS AG maintains central offices in Basel, giving finance a pivotal role in the local economy.
The Bank for International Settlements is located within the city and is the central banker's bank. The bank is controlled by a board of directors, which is composed of the elite central bankers of 11 different countries (US, UK, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden).

Kingston upon Hull


Kingston upon Hull, is a city and unitary authority area in the ceremonial county of the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It stands on the River Hull at its junction with the Humber estuary, 25 miles (40 km) inland from the North Sea. Hull has a resident population of 263,900 (2010 est.). The Larger Urban Zone (LUZ) population stands at 573,300.
Renamed Kings town upon Hull by King Edward I in 1299, the town and city of Hull has served as market town, military supply port, a trading hub, fishing and whaling centre, and industrial metropolis.
Hull was an early theatre of battle in the English Civil Wars. Its 18th-century Member of Parliament, William Wilberforce, played a key role in the abolition of the slave trade in Britain.
The city is unique in the UK in having had a municipally-owned telephone system from 1902, sporting cream, not red, telephone boxes.
After suffering heavy damage during the Second World War, Hull weathered a period of post-industrial decline, during which the city gained unfavourable results on measures of social deprivation, education and policing. In recent years the city has embarked on an extensive programme of economic regeneration, reconstruction and urban renewal. The economic crisis since 2008 has caused some setbacks to these developments.
Established tourist attractions include the historic Old Town and Museum Quarter, the Marina and The Deep, a city landmark. The redevelopment of one of Hull's main thoroughfares, Ferensway, included the opening of St. Stephen's Hull and the new Hull Truck Theatre. Spectator sporting activities include professional football and tw


Hull Blitz
The city's port and industrial facilities, coupled with its proximity to mainland Europe and ease of location being on a major estuary, led to extremely widespread damage by bombing raids during World War II; much of the city centre was destroyed.Hull had 95% of its houses damaged or destroyed, making it the most severely bombed British city or town, apart from London, during World War II. More than 1,200 people died in air raids on the city and some 3,000 others were injured.The worst of the bombing occurred in 1941. Little was known about this destruction by the rest of the country at the time, since most of the radio and newspaper reports did not reveal Hull by name but referred to it as "a North-East town" or "a northern coastal town". Most of the city centre was rebuilt in the years following the war, but as recently as 2006 researchers found documents in the local archives that suggested an unexploded wartime bomb might be buried beneath a major new redevelopment, The Boom, in Hull.


Economy


The economy of Hull was built on trading and seafaring, firstly whaling and later seafishing. Merchant's houses such as Blaydes House and some warehouses survive in the Old Town, where trade was centred on the River Hull, later shifting to the Humber docks. Another major industry was oilseed crushing. Although the fishing industry declined in the 1970s, the city remains a busy port, handling 13 million tonnes of cargo per year. Freight handling at the port is projected to rise following Network Rail oversight of a £14.5 million investment in the rail link, which was completed in mid-2008. This was projected to increase its capacity from 10 trains per day to 22. The port operations run by Associated British Ports and other companies in the port employ 5,000 people. A further 18,000 are employed as a direct result of the port's activities. The port area of the city has diversified to compensate for the decline in fishing by the introduction of Roll-on Roll-off ferry services to the continent of Europe. These ferries now handle over a million passengers each year. Hull has exploited the leisure industry by creating a marina from the old Humber Street Dock in the centre of the city. It opened in 1983 and has 270 berths for yachts and small sailing craft.
Industry in the city is focused on the chemical and health care sectors. Several well-known British companies, including BP, Smith & Nephew, Seven Seas, and Reckitt Benckiser, have facilities in Hull. The health care sector is further enhanced by the research facilities provided by the University of Hull through the Institute of Woundcare and the Hull York Medical School partnerships. In recent years, with the decline of fishing and heavy industry, the retail sector, tourism, the arts and further and higher education sectors have played an increasingly prominent role in the process of economic regeneration and raising the profile of the city. In 2009 it was estimated that businesses in Hull deliver an annual turnover of almost £8 billion, and over 5 million annual visitors contribute almost £210 million to Hull's economy.


Museums


Hull's Museum Quarter, on the High Street in the heart of the Old Town, consists of Wilberforce House, the Arctic Corsair, the Hull and East Riding Museum (which contains the Hasholme Logboat – Britain's largest surviving prehistoric logboat), and the Streetlife Museum of Transport. Other museums and visitor attractions include the Ferens Art Gallery with a good range of art and regular exhibitions, the Maritime Museum in Victoria Square, the Spurn Lightship, the Yorkshire Water Museum, and the Deep, the world's only submarium. The recently refurbished Seven Seas Fish Trail marks Hull's fishing heritage, leading its followers through old and new sections of the city, following a wide variety of sealife engraved in the pavement.


Visual culture and sculpture
Artist and Royal Academician David Remfry grew up in Hull and studied at the Hull College of Art (now part of Lincoln University) from 1959–64.Remfry has had two solo exhibitions at the Ferens Art Gallery in 1975 and 2005. Hull has a number of historical statues such as the Wilberforce Memorial in Queen's Gardens and the gilded King William III statue on Market Place (known locally as "King Billy").
There is a statue of Hull-born Amy Johnson in Prospect Street. In recent years a number of modern art sculptures and heritage trails have been installed around Hull. These include a figure looking out to the Humber called 'Voyage' which has a twin in Iceland. In July 2011, this artwork was reported stolen. There is a shark sculpture outside The Deep and a fountain and installation called 'Tower of Light' outside Britannia House on the corner of Spring Bank.
In 2010 a public art event in Hull city centre entitled Larkin with Toads displayed 40 individually decorated giant toad models as the centrepiece of the Larkin 25 festival. Most of these sculptures have since been sold off for charity and transported to their new owners. Visitors to Hull's Paragon Interchange are now greeted by the new statue of Philip Larkin unveiled on 2 December 2010.


Nightlife, bars and pubs
The drinking culture in Hull city centre tends towards late bars, while the wine bars and pubs around Hull University and its accommodation area are popular with students. In particular, the areas around Newland Avenue and Prince's Avenue have seen a rapid expansion in continental-style bars and cafes encouraged by the redesign of the street layout.


Festivals


Picture of Hull Fair taken from the top of the Big Wheel, 2006
The Humber Mouth literature festival is an annual event and the 2010 season featured writers such as Roy Hattersley, Andrew Motion and Roger McGough. This was followed, on 17 July 2010, by the Sea Fever Festival, an International Sea Shanty Festival, July being the new date for the sea shanty. The annual Hull Jazz Festival takes place around the Marina area for a week at the beginning of August.
As of 2008 Hull has also held Freedom Festival; an annual free arts and live music event that celebrates freedom in all its forms.
Early October sees the arrival of Hull Fair which is one of Europe's largest travelling funfairs and takes place on land adjacent to the KC Stadium.
The Hull Global Food Festival held its third annual event in the city's Queen Victoria Square for three days – 4–6 September 2009. According to officials, the event in 2007 attracted 125,000 visitors and brought some £5 million in revenue to the area. In 2007 the Hull Metalfest began in the Welly Club, it featured major label bands from the United States, Canada and Italy, as well as the UK. The first Hull Comedy Festival, which included performers such as Stewart Lee and Russell Howard was held in 2007.
In 2010, Hull marked the 25th anniversary of the death of the poet Philip Larkin with the Larkin 25 Festival. This included the popular Larkin with Toads public art event. The 40 Larkin toads were displayed around Hull and later sold off in a charity auction. A charity appeal raised funds to cast a life-size bronze statue of Philip Larkin, to a design by Martin Jennings, at Hull Paragon Interchange. The statue was unveiled at a ceremony attended by the Lord Mayor of Hull on 2 December 2010, the 25th anniversary of Larkin's death. It bears an inscription drawn from the first line of Larkin's poem, 'The Whitsun Weddings'.